New Orleans Saints fans are ready for Sunday’s NFC championship game.

Whatever happens Sunday, Super Bowl committee confident of a super matchup

Road to Super Bowl LIII: An update

As the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee finalizes and reviews its preparations, here’s one thing it isn’t worried about: which teams will play in the big game. 

Brett Daniels, the host committee’s chief operating officer, said he’ll watch Sunday’s AFC and NFC Championship games as a truly neutral observer, confident of a compelling Super Bowl LIII matchup no matter what happens in the Kansas City Chiefs-New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams-New Orleans Saints games.

“There are great storylines and local angles with all four teams,” said Daniels, a former long-time Dallas Cowboys executive. “All four teams have been putting up points and yards all season long.” 

He acknowledged that many Atlantans may cringe at the prospect of the arch-rival Saints playing in a Super Bowl in Atlanta: “We know how that rubs Falcons fans.” But he added, “At the same time, Saints fans are a group that could pile in cars and drive here.” 

The Rams, on the other hand, would bring “their new Hollywood star power” to the game, Daniels said. 

» Follow: AJC’s continuing coverage of the Super Bowl in Atlanta

If the Chiefs win the AFC title game, their first Super Bowl appearance in 49 years would be a compelling angle, he noted, especially given “the passion and loyalty the fan base has in Kansas City.” 

And if the Patriots reach the Super Bowl, “enough said there,” Daniels said. “They’re the standard in recent years. They certainly know how to handle Super Bowls.” (Which brings up another sore subject for Falcons fans, of course.) 

Readying the stadium 

Hundreds of workers are on the job at Mercedes-Benz Stadium daily, readying the place for the Super Bowl.

Additional broadcast booths and operations booths are being built, including some on the 300-level skybridge. Some seats are being converted to auxiliary media space. New graphics are going up all around the concourses and clubs to put the Super Bowl’s stamp on the building.

“To watch the transformation happen day by day is amazing,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s group of businesses. “We’ve probably got 500 people in the building, various Super Bowl contractors.”

The build-out is scheduled to be completed Jan. 25, nine days before the big game.

Hospitality packages for sale 

The Atlanta host committee has a small number of Super Bowl hospitality packages still for sale, albeit at a hefty price. 

The $50,000 packages include two lower-level club seats for the game with all-inclusive food and beverage, two tickets to the host committee’s tailgate party next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, two passes to the “VIP Hospitality House” for the three days before the game and the right to purchase a four-star hotel room downtown from the Thursday before the game until the Monday after. 

For more info, email

Plans for the park

Work continues in Centennial Olympic Park to create the setting for “Super Bowl Live,” a six-day series of concerts and other attractions leading to the game.

Organizers this week announced additional elements for the park event, including an illuminated  35-foot-tall version of the Vince Lombardi Trophy that is expected to be a popular place for fans to take photos and share on social media. 

The Lombardi Trophy is presented annually to the winning team in the Super Bowl.

Other newly announced plans for “Super Bowl Live” include  the “Verizon Up Members Lounge,” where NFL players and “legends” will make appearances, and the “Best Buy TechZone,” described as the “ultimate fan cave” outfitted with tech gadgets that can enhance the football-watching experience.

ESPN and NFL Network will have sets in the park for live broadcasts during Super Bowl week.

“Super Bowl Live” will be open Jan. 26-28 and Jan. 31-Feb. 2. Admission will be free.

A rendering of the giant Lombardi Trophy that will be installed at Centennial Olympic Park as part of “Super Bowl Live” festivities.
Photo: NFL

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